Divorce is rough -- particularly when your spouse won't co-operate. It's particularly problematic to deal with a spouse that pulls a disappearing act before he or she can be served with the notice that you've filed. Some spouses simply refuse to accept the reality that a marriage is over and will go to great lengths to avoid letting it happen.
It's not the court's job to get a copy of your Complaint for Divorce and other relevant papers to your spouse. It's your responsibility. If you aren't having any luck through ordinary means like personal service or certified mail, here are a few things you can try.
1. Hire A Local Sherriff
In many areas, local sheriffs will act as process servers for legal actions for a reasonable fee. If you give the sheriff your spouse's work address, he or she can try to serve the divorce papers there. Having a uniformed officer appear at work often encourages a reluctant spouse to take the papers quietly and quickly in order to get the sheriff to leave before there's a scene.
2. Hire A Professional Process Server
If your spouse is really playing hard-to-get and takes off in the opposite direction when he or she sees a sheriff approach, you may need someone who can use a little guile to serve your papers for you. Professional process servers who specialize in "hard to serve" cases will often find creative ways of sealing the deal.
For example, they might pose as a flower delivery person to get your spouse to come to the door and accept a box (with the divorce papers neatly tucked in with the flowers). These professionals are expert at finding ways to convince someone to show themselves.
3. Post Your Notice Publicly
"Notice by publication" is usually only an option in most areas after you've exhausted other options. You have to show the court that you've attempted service by routine methods -- including certified mail -- and failed. However, this is a particularly useful method when your spouse seems to have vanished into thin air, and you don't have a current work or home address.
Each local jurisdiction has specific rules that have to be followed, but you generally have to post the summons and notice that you've filed for divorce in one or more heavily-trafficked public places for a set period of time. In some areas, you can also make use of the local paper and post your notice by buying an ad.
No matter how hard your spouse is making this process, take heart -- it won't last forever. The courts are generally unwilling to let a case drag on forever simply because one person is making due process difficult. It may end up costing you a little extra to hire someone or pay for publication in a local paper, but it'll ultimately achieve your goal and get your divorce back in motion.
For more information, contact a law office like Hazlett & Pedemonte.